When you’re a kid, bugs are cool! Furry Caterpillars, Banana Slugs, Potato Bugs, Lady Bugs — they love them!
As a parent, you might encourage their young bright minds to learn more about insects through bug catchers, books, or other insect educational resources. But that doesn’t require you to live in a bug-infested house!
Plus, some pests are dangerous to kiddos. How do you prevent problems there?
Keep reading to learn more about kid safety when it comes to bugs and pest control.
What insects are dangerous to kids?
Biting insects are the ones you have to worry about most. These bugs are dangerous to humans and children alike because they’ll look to you as a food source or as something to attack if threatened.
You’ll want to help your children avoid the following types of pests.
Fleas are a common pest that causes discomfort by biting and can also transmit diseases. Fleas are most often found in and around homes with animals. Thankfully, there are easy treatments to get rid of Fleas.
Bees, Wasps & Hornets
Honey Bees are pollinators and essential to our environment. But they don’t like to be messed with and will sting humans and kids when they feel threatened. Your children need to be especially careful of Yellow Jackets, as they are extremely aggressive and more likely to chase down and sting someone who bothered them, especially in late summer.
If your child is stung by a Bee of any kind, make sure the stinger still isn’t in the skin, then apply a calming salve to relieve any stinging sensation. Also pay attention to the symptoms your child displays after being stung and contact your doctor if anything seems off — many children are allergic to Bee stings.
Ticks attach to the skin and suck blood. Though your child won’t usually feel the bite itself, there may be some redness around the area of the bite. Always check your child for Ticks after being out in the woods, camping, or other outdoor playtime. If you find a Tick, contact your doctor immediately to ensure you remove it correctly. Additionally, Ticks can carry Lyme Disease, so save the Tick in a container or bag to show to your doctor.
There are about a dozen common household Spiders here in the Pacific Northwest. Most of these long-legged insects are harmless, at most leaving an itchy bump. However, there are 2 species that are considered dangerous: Black Widow Spiders and Hobo Spiders. Learn how to identify these Spiders and if your child is bitten by one of these insects, contact your doctor immediately.
MosquitosMosquitoes bite and feed on the blood of humans and animals. In summer months here in the PNW, these insects can ruin an evening on the patio or turn a fun camping trip into an itchy nuisance. Mosquitos can also carry disease. Around the world, these insects are known for infecting people of all ages with the Zika virus, yellow fever, dengue, malaria, and other diseases.
Bed BugsBed Bugs are exactly that — bugs that live in the bed. These insects are nearly invisible, coming out at night to feed on the bed’s occupant. Bed Bugs will leave little red dots on the skin, usually clustered in groups of three. These annoying critters are difficult to kill and spread easily. If you notice symptoms, make sure to take care of them as soon as possible.
What happens if my child eats a bug?
Kids love to put things in their mouth — even creepy crawlers like Beetles and Ants. The idea of your child swallowing a bug might make you feel a little squeamish, but there’s probably not anything to worry about.
Most insects contain protein, a little fat, and in many countries are considered delicacies!
Of course, you don’t want to encourage your child to gobble down bugs either. If your kid is observing some insects and is at risk of turning them into a midday snack, act as a chaperone or remove them from the area.
While most bugs are harmless for kids to consume, don’t hesitate to contact Poison Control if you’re worried.
Concerned about a bug that your child just swallowed? Contact Poison Control through their easy-to-use online tool, or call 1-800-222-1222.
Is pest control harmful to babies and children?
Babies and children are much more susceptible to pesticides and insecticides than adults.
How are pesticides harmful to children? Consider that a child’s body and immune system are still developing. They don’t have the ability to fight off or deflect the toxic chemicals or irritants.
Plus, you have to consider that kids are much lower to the ground (perhaps only just crawling), and are much more likely to be exposed to pesticides. And then there’s that habit of always putting things in their mouths!
How to handle a pest infestation with kids in the house
Do you have a pest infestation in or around your home? Knowing that traditional pesticides are dangerous to children, how do you get rid of the insects while also keeping your kiddos safe?
If you’re set on handling a pest problem on your own, make sure you know the pesticide warning labels to look for. The three big ones are:
- Caution — Slightly toxic if inhaled or eaten, causing minor eye or skin irritation.
- Warning — Moderately toxic if inhaled or eaten, causing more severe irritation to eyes and skin.
- Danger/Poison — The pesticide is highly toxic if eaten or inhaled, causing severe damage to the eyes or skin.
Never, ever leave pesticides or chemicals sitting around in the house. They should be stored under lock and key. Additionally, read the label carefully to understand instructions. Keep children away from any treated areas or get out of the house until it is considered safe. If your child comes into contact with a pesticide with any of these labels, call Poison Control or take them to the emergency room.
You can try your own methods — chemical or natural — for getting rid of bugs in the house. But considering the risk, the best way to get rid of bugs and keep kids safe is to work with an eco-friendly pest control company.